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Role of the Accountant as an Expert Witness

NCJ Number
J Cayson
Date Published
34 pages
The chief accountant for New Jersey's Commission of Investigation describes the accountant's role in investigating white collar crime and appearing as an expert witness for the prosecution.
Beginning with a definition of an expert accounting witness, the paper describes the education and training necessary for investigative accounting work. These professionals must be able to identify situations which are potentially productive in developing a successful criminal prosecution. The investigative auditor must formulate an audit program if a decision is reached to pursue an allegation or complaint by legal means. An audit program relative to an alleged kickback case by a contractor to a Government official is outlined with comments on the rationale underlying specific procedures. Federal and State court rulings on summonses issued for the production of books and records are briefly reviewed with special attention to fifth amendment privileges of corporations, unincorporated associations, and labor unions. Legal issues concerning an accountant's workpapers, and privileged communications between accountant and client are also covered. A format for the auditor's report is presented. The discussion of the accountant as an expert witness covers topics which should be treated in testimony before a grand jury and the accountant's role in the pretrial discovery and inspection of the government's information. Finally, techniques to increase the effctiveness of the accountant's testimony are suggested.